American Artisans: SmartSeeds

American Artisans ~ SmartSeeds

SmartSeeds is the seventeenth in my Sunday series featuring American Artisans. There are so many exceptionally talented craftspeople, designers, and small companies across this country and this is my chance to introduce them to you. These artisans are creating beautiful, useful and delicious products that elevate the experience of everyday cooking, dining, and entertaining. They’re using skills, techniques, and materials that might otherwise be lost in our era of mass production. Their work makes me happy, and I hope it does the same for you.

American Artisans Smartseeds: fresh herbs drying

Mia Myers is a master gardener, landscape designer, and the woman behind SmartSeeds, a premier supplier of rare and exotic seeds from around the world. The company is located in sunny Claremont California, where just 100 years ago, the entire town was Mia’s great grandfather’s lemon ranch! She now lives on the family homestead where she collects and grows a mind boggling array of rare seeds that you won’t find anywhere else. She’s dedicated her life to making sure these seeds, (and their wonderful flavors!)  don’t simply disappear. If you’ve got a green thumb, or just wish you had one, SmartSeeds is a wonderland of inspiration, I’m so excited to introduce them to you today.

Mia planting raised bed 720

Right about now a lot of you are scrambling to start your gardens. Spring is springing, or is about to spring, in most of the country and many of us are thinking about planting, whether it’s a small container garden on the deck or a full-on vegetable patch. You hardcore gardeners have had your seeds ready for weeks now, I’m sure, but luckily, it’s not too late to get started.  There’s still plenty of spring and summer ahead and SmartSeeds has us covered.

American Artisans SmartSeeds | heirloom Tomatoes

“The seeds we offer are rare because they are not domesticated, hybridized, or genetically modified for human convenience. You won’t find them in your local garden center…”

Mia says that she loves being able to supply plant varieties and flavors from all over the world that people may miss or have trouble finding here. Whether her seeds allow you to return to your roots or explore new flavors, I’m sure you’ll find something intriguing. Growing your own ingredients, even if it’s just a small pot of cherry tomatoes (like the Mexican Midgets, below) on your porch, brings a whole new level of enjoyment to cooking and eating.

American Artisans SmartSeeds Mexican Midget Tomatoes

As a Landscape Designer, I learned to build gardens that take care of themselves. If you understand what a plant needs and where it came from, you won’t have to pour chemicals on it, tie it up, mow it down, or beat it into submission.”

I think we can all appreciate things that take care of themselves! SmartSeeds also offers a great Germination Guide on their website to help ensure that your growing goes as smoothly as possible.

Basil transplants 548

SmartSeeds has an amazing array of peppers, which are fun to grow and add color and flavor to so many dishes. There are heirloom seeds from Bolivia, Chile, Tunisia and Trinidad — from the hottest of the hot, to the super sweet. If you love peppers like I do you need to check them out. The plants tend to be small, so you can grow them right in pots on a sunny porch even if you don’t have a garden.

thai yellow 1400.jpg

One of my favorite sections on the site is the Garden Collections Mia has put together carefully curated and functional collections that make fabulous gifts — instead of that obligatory bottle of wine, why not bring your host a beautiful collection of seeds! There are classic Windowsill Herb or Salsa Collections, and even a unique Sushi Garden — that’s everything you need for garden fresh sushi, from the heirloom Japanese sushi rice to the black sesame seeds!

American Artisan Smartseeds Black Sesame Pods

Check out SmartSeeds and let me know what you find! I’m salivating over the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. With a bit of effort you can expand your culinary horizons beyond the supermarket, beyond the farmers’ markets, and  beyond the big seed catalogs and your local nursery. This is exciting stuff, let’s get planting!

American Artisans SmartSeeds heirloom tomato

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    April 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for tipping us off to this wonderful vendor, Sue! I can’t wait to get back in the garden and dig in the dirt 🙂

  • Reply
    April 6, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Awesome…I have a few heirloom varieties and roses and veggies. Nothing better.
    Happy to see you continued the series as I always enjoy it.
    I will check out her company because she doesn’t genetically modify which has the is common in most seeds now. Sadly!

  • Reply
    April 4, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Hi Sue, what a great post, very interested in heirloom seeds for my garden. Perfect timing.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    This is so cool, we actually just planted the first seeds in our garden. Definitely going to check out their website!

  • Reply
    Linda L.
    April 3, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    I like the variety available with heirloom plants plus they actually taste like food, not cardboard! It’s such a shame that the beautiful tomato in the last picture would be discarded by most commercial gardeners because it isn’t ‘uniform’.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    April 3, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    This is a fantastic post and resource. We are just starting to plan our summer garden so it comes at the perfect time!

  • Reply
    Tracy | Baking Mischief
    April 3, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    These look fantastic! I am very intrigued by the “gardens that take care of themselves” part. I am the world’s most neglectful gardener, so my plants need all the help they can get! Starting from a good foundation like this seems like the way to go. 🙂

    • Reply
      April 3, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      I need a bit of that, too. I live in a great gardening climate, but my problem is getting the watering down right, I go away for a couple of days and come back to dead plants :/

  • Reply
    Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    April 3, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Those look like some pretty interesting seeds. Stuff you cannot find at the regular grocery store. Too bad I am not a gardner!!

    • Reply
      April 3, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      I’m not a big time gardener either, Gloria, but I am really tempted to start some big pots this year.

  • Reply
    Mica @ Let's Taco Bout It Blog
    April 3, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve always wanted to start my own garden. This would be a great start!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    April 3, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    We don’t have our seeds yet! Yeah I will be ordering soon. We always look for the “real” deal when it comes to seeds. Thanks Sue – another great post featuring an amazing woman and her really special company.

  • Reply
    Sherri @ Watch Learn Eat
    April 3, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    This is amazing! Everything looks so beautiful! I am going to share this with my husband (he’s the gardener in the family) so he can check out SmartSeeds. He will love it!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I’m in love with her heirloom beets! So pretty!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Gosh, I wish I had found this 3 weeks ago. I already started all my tomatoes for the year! I’ll save your information for next year

  • Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Thank you, SmartSeeds, for doing this!

    • Reply
      April 3, 2016 at 11:15 am

      It’s pretty important work, for sure.

  • Reply
    Kathi @ LaughingSpatula
    April 3, 2016 at 10:44 am

    As soon as I plant something it starts to commit suicide! Brown thumb 🙁 I have beautiful raised bed gardens that are almost all shade. Lots of hostas and ornamental grasses, some herbs. But I do have containers on an upper deck that gets good sun. Tomatoes, poblanos grow well there. What else? Love your blog and draw from it often!

    • Reply
      April 3, 2016 at 11:15 am

      I notice Mia has a section on shade plants, Kathi — so keep trying! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Just what I’ve been looking for!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    April 3, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Fabulous, beautiful and making me long for the growing season (soon! 🙂

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